The Marc Jacobs runway show -- the finale of New York Fashion Week -- was as climatic as it was climactic. Climatic, as in pouring rain outside the New York State Armory, where Jacobs holds his show, and sweltering inside. Jacobs can’t control the rain (we don’t THINK) but we weren’t sure if the heat inside was a technical fluke or part of the ambience, given that he’d transformed the space into an expansive, abandoned beach resort, with black sand, a giant strewn Adirondack chair, a half-buried bus and a dilapidated boardwalk the models walked upon that twisted and turned throughout the audience.
His attention to detail is phenomenal, the sand strewn with old trashy paperbacks, Jack Daniels bottles, crumpled copies of Vogue and scads of cigarette butts. (We fear Jacobs chain-smoked every last one of them.)
It’s an apocalyptic landscape, that’s for sure. The music starts off with the theme from “Jaws,” then quickly morphs into a Philip Glass orchestral version of “Icct Hedral,” an intense, spine-tingling piece of electronic music. Just what happened (hurricane, nuclear holocaust, sharknado??) is hard to tell. All we know is that the survivors start tramping along the boardwalk looking a bit like zombies, pale with “Children of the Corn”-ish bleached blonde bobs, and wearing a rather unusual wardrobe for spring.
What Jacobs showed -- heavy military jackets (braided and tasseled), thick dark sweaters, black dresses with mid-calf hems -- looked more like fall / winter attire. Granted, the military jackets were cropped, revealing a flash of abs, and worn with shorts.
Jacobs has often infused his collections with a cheeky, don’t-take-it-so-seriously vibe, and some of that seems at work here. Like the burgundy sweatshirt with red-and-white swirl swiped from a Coca-Cola label. Graphic, fun and perfect for our brand-obsessed culture.
There are some stunning pieces, showing the attention to line and hand-craftsmanship that has put Jacobs on top. A dramatic red-and-white leaf-print coat is trimmed with black tassels. A short-sleeve column gown with panels of black, white and red leaf prints revealed delicate embroidery down the side. And that Coca-Cola-logo sweatshirt was paired with an exquisite long skirt of sheer net with floral embroidery. For Goth lovers, you’ve got sheer, ornate, high-necked gowns.
Still, this seems a merchandising nightmare. Will shoppers buy heavy dresses and jackets … for spring? For all its quirky off-season-ness … it was surprisingly compelling. Although the parade of elaborate, black Victorian mourning dresses still looks … a tad like a montage of “Downton Abbey” widows.
Then there’s the accessories issue -- for all you shoe and handbag addicts out there, break out the smelling salts and hold on to something steady, because he showed very few. Just some pouch bags, in embroidered or leaf-print fabrics. And a couple of shoe styles -- one a funky, sparkly moccasin bootie, the other a thick-strapped kitschy tourist sandal. (Remember Tevas of old?)
Of course, there’s always the just-launched beauty line to keep customers happy. Samples of lipstick, mascara and eye shadow were tucked inside gorgeous gift boxes on each seat. The eye shadow palette clicks open and shut like a little purse. Maybe you can count that as a mini handbag.